With a castle, cathedral and beautiful riverside walks, Durham may be small but there are plenty of things to do packed into the city. You’ll never be short of somewhere to get coffee or a bite to eat, and you can easily escape into the surrounding woodland. You also have the definite advantage of being able to walk everywhere, so don’t forget to bring comfy shoes. And if Durham starts to feel too small, Newcastle is just a short train ride away.

But what about activities you can easily do socially-distanced? We asked your Student Officers for top tips on their favourite ways to enjoy Durham during a pandemic.

A tour of Durham City and a picnic

"My favourite socially-distanced activity in Durham is always an impromptu tour around Durham City. There are so many sites and secret places to visit outside the University that are perfect if you ever want to escape the intensity of your degree. I suggest a small socially-distanced stroll and picnic with some friends to slow down student life and unwind. As long as you stay safe and respect the local community, I would always advise a regular stroll with good company."

Seun Twins, SU President


Image courtesy of Durham University


Finchale Priory

"I enjoy running or walking with friends along the river to Finchale Priory, through the nature reserve where we’ve seen kingfishers and deer. All you have to do is walk downstream on the right hand side of the river in Durham and you’ll end up at the 13th-century Benedictine priory. Exercise and history – what could be better!"

Anna Marshall, Opportunities Officer

Walking by the River Wear

"My favourite socially-distanced activity has been taking walks along the beautiful River Wear with my friends during the summer. I have hayfever, but luckily wearing a mask stops a lot of the pollen getting in, so wearing one has luckily served a dual purpose! "

Ewan Swift, Welfare and Liberation Officer

Durham Riverside walk

Image courtesy of Durham University

Durham Cathedral

Urban Sketching

"Durham is full of amazing architecture and stunning views all around the city. This makes it a perfect place for urban sketching (if the rain holds off). Grab a sketchpad, something to draw with and go on a wander round the city. There are so many great places to go but some of my recommendations would be Market Square, the Bailey, Palace Green, Prebends Bridge and Observatory Hill. You don’t have to be good at art to have a go – urban sketching is just a great excuse to go on a walk around Durham with your friends and get a bit creative. "

Sarah McAllister, PG Academic Officer